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By Aldwin R. Fajardo Staff Reporter

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (Sept. 12, 2000 – Saipan Tribune/Abridged ---The Federal Aviation Administration has allocated almost $2.4 million in grants to the Commonwealth Ports Authority for the rehabilitation of Saipan International Airport's runway.

The total amount, $2.374 million, is being made available under the federal Airport Improvement Program.

The issuance of the grant is subject to approval of the project as finally formulated; CPA meeting the requirements set forth under the [Airport and Airway Safety and Capacity Expansion] Act; and the limits of obligational authority for the current fiscal year.

According to FAA Western Pacific Airports District Office acting manager Daniel S. Matsumoto, use of the $2.4 million allocation is restricted to the rehabilitation of the airport runway.

In June, CPA also received close to $200,000 for a project to convert the existing asphalt concrete apron (ACP) to Portland cement concrete (PCC).

The conversion project will be funded 100 percent by the FAA.

The first bid proposal submitted for the project originally costs $214,707 but was scaled down to $190,535 following studies that showed that some of the soil borings required can be provided from previous geo-technical reports for the same area.

This brought the cost down by about $24,000, according to CPA staff engineer John Sablan in a report presented to the Board of Directors at a recent meeting.

The CPA Board of Directors has unanimously awarded the Saipan International Airport asphalt conversion project to Winzler and Kelly.

Seeking to make Northern Mariana Islands’ airports comparable to facilities in other countries, CPA has been crafting a long-term improvement plan.

As a result, the agency is also looking at expanding the Saipan International Airport runway from 8,600 feet to 10,600 feet in order to accommodate direct flights from the mainland United States.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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